It all started a couple of months ago when the city of Charlotte passed an anti-discrimination law which was intended to prevent exclusion and general meanness against persons who are other than heterosexual (forgive me, but today there are so many exceptions to male/female that “all else” must be used for conservation of ink).
One of the protections this law provided allowed men and women to use each other’s bathrooms, locker rooms, public showers and any other quarters intended for purposes which expose their naughty bits. Understandably, this was considered anathema by many, for reasons I do not wish to consider specifically.
Generally, the reason is that traditionally the men’s room is for men and the women’s room is for women. You know, once upon a time, it was considered perfectly normal for white persons and black persons to be relegated to separate facilities.
Perhaps the time has come to get rid of the separation of the sexes and make all public bathrooms unisex. This would take some getting used to, but I feel it ultimately would simplify the use of public space, and I think we are ready for it.
Then the state of North Carolina stepped in (it) and overruled the Charlotte ordinance: first, by saying that there shall be no local ordinances — that only statewide ordinances are valid — then by rewriting the state’s anti-discrimination code to offer protection against unfair treatment on the basis of age, race, sex or disability. It seems a slap in the face to so blatantly exclude protection on the basis of sexual orientation/gender identity.
Apparently, this is interpreted to mean that the law allows, or even encourages, discrimination against nonheterosexuals. I would like to point out it also does not include protection against discrimination on the basis of “cleanliness,” nor “dietary habits,” nor “fashion sense.” This could prove to be quite devastating to Asheville in particular.
It is obvious that equal protection for all cannot be itemized in a law without naming every person and his peculiarities. I do not understand why the law does not simply state that “no person shall be denied access to the privileges of society.” In a truly inclusive world, we must legally embrace all persons, no matter how much they might offend some individuals.
That said, the HB2 law does not say that everyone not mentioned as protected must necessarily be discriminated against. Chances are that [there] will be no difference in the way persons of various lifestyles are treated, no matter what the law says. It is a stupid law made by stupid legislators. But they deserve jobs, too.
— Tom Cook